When Broadway-bound "Monty Python's Spamalot" launched in Chicago for world premiere previews in 2004, before heading on to New York, an additional surprise was unveiled.
With the show's director Mike Nichols in attendance, along with wife Diane Sawyer for the January opening night at the old Shubert Theatre in Chicago, the hit musical shared the spotlight with a surprise tin tribute from Hormel Foods.
A limited edition flavor of the famed canned loaf of luncheon meat Spam was unveiled featuring a "golden honey grail glaze" packaged in a "Spamalot" collector's edition can.
"Spam is the holy grail of canned meats," said Eric Idle, Python alum and the show's lyricist and book writer.
"We're thrilled to dine on Spam golden honey grail at the round table of 'Spamalot.'”
There have been a few return visits of "Spamalot" to Chicago for national Broadway tours, and also some regional productions at Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook and just last April, at Jedlicka Performing Arts Center at Morton College campus in Cicero, Ill.
Now, a decade after the Chicago debut, "Spamalot," which is based on the silly British comedy medieval theme 1975 comedy spoof film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," is playing as a local production in Northwest Indiana.
Following the success of Ross Summer Music Theatre's 50th Anniversary and their hit run of "Les Mis" in July, the Reinhart Family announced earlier this year an October run of "Spamalot" for this month at their Merrillville stage space. However, this month has resulted in a few hurdles for the Reinharts. And after not hearing any updates about this scheduled run of "Spamalot," I've had some reader emails asking about the status.
"Phil, I hope you can help. I'm trying to find info on the community group presentation of 'Spamalot' scheduled for this coming weekend. Need to know if the show is still on for Sunday and the time. I have left phone and email for them, but no reply yet. Have always enjoyed their shows. I hope you can help. Thanks Janice Richey P.S. Like your column!"
For Janice and other readers who have asked, I spoke with Mike Reinhart and he shared an update on this much anticipated local run of "Spamalot."
The run is still a go, but has been pushed back to open Jan. 10, 2014.
Mike tells me his dad Jerauld Reinhart, 84, had to have an emergency procedure this month, regarding his heart. He said it has taken "a little longer than expected" for his dad to "bounce back." But the good news is his father, who is theater royalty for our region, as well as his wife of 60 years, Margilee, is doing well and excited about serving up "Spamalot" to Northwest Indiana audiences for the start of the new year.
For any ticket questions and concerns, call Mike at (219) 742-6478 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit m-mproductions.com.
Until then, the Reinharts are still keeping busy this month working with a young cast that includes Angelo Pez, Kiera Shakelford, Lucas Reinhart and Adam Clough for the production "Ghost Writer," playing a run at Hobart's Center Stage Studio Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 and 26 and Nov. 3 and at 8 p.m. Nov. 1 and 3 p.m. Oct. 27. Tickets are $9 at (219) 947-4922 or m-mproductions.com.
Written and directed by Mike Reinhart, it tells the tale of Taylor Jamison, a celebrated horror novelist, who upsets the spirits when he brings his family with him to his favorite cottage to find inspiration for his next work of fiction.